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General CHAVARRIE. I will submit it for the record, and I will go through it very quickly to save you some time.
Mr. NICHOLS. That will be fine, without objection.
General CHAVARRIE. Thank you for those remarks. Mr. Chairman, I would like to say that during my 3 years on the Joint Staff, a very distinguished colleague of yours and a very distinguished Marine General, General Blaz, was one of my colleagues. We were colonels together, and I am as proud as can be that he became a distinguished Member of the Congress, but I think just as proud that he became a distinguished member of your committee.
Mr. NICHOLS. Although he is not of my party, we are extremely proud of the general. He makes a very fine contribution to the defense effort, and I am pleased that he is supportive of the legislation we are trying to get passed in this committee.
General CHAVARRIE. Sir, it is a pleasure again to discuss the concerns of the committee regarding the performance of military officers in joint activities. The original creation of the joint speciality was proposed in the report back in 1982, and that is the first time we heard about a joint speciality.
Then, in 1985, we did our study to improve the capabilities of officers in joint activities. So, since we have been involved in this since 1982, it is not a new subject for us in defense.
May I say that in 1985, in the report we submitted to the Congress, we established what we believe is a really better approach than the one of establishing a joint subspeciality.
The 1985 report would establish what we call a special experience identifier. In some ways, you could say a special identifier can be viewed as almost a joint subspeciality.
They almost do the same thing. They identify somebody that has had joint experience that you can gather back again, if you want him and he is good. So maybe we are dealing only with terms, be cause a subspeciality would be, I think, fairly close to what we now have as a special experience identifier.
There are several problems that we see, Mr. Chairman, associated with the creation of this subspeciality. You have heard this before, I think it might result in a cadre of joint specialists, because it changes our present goal of maintaining an officer corps throughout all the services which has joint experience.
It is not necessarily the best thing in the world to have a group, a cadre of officers who are joint specialists. If we go to war, the best thing to do is to have a body of people throughout the services, not just a very elite sort of cadre that know the joint business, but to have folks throughout the services who can serve as the core for the planners, logisticians and the intelligence of people that we would need, because we would be expanding on a very fast basis in terms of going to war.
I think General Wickham in his earlier testimony used the term “cross-fertilization”, and that is a better way of saying what I was trying to say. It is a desirable attribute of our present system, because it supports this flow of Service people into the Joint Staff, and the joint billets and back into the services.
Our identifier is a substitute for your recommendation that we establish a joint subspecialty in 1982, when that study was done and sent to the Congress. In 1985, in the subsequent study, we said, let's establish an identifier, keep our eye on this fellow, get him back into a joint billet, but don't make it so restrictive he becomes a specialist only in joint matters.
Despite the best of intentions, the joint specialty could create a kind of adversarial relationship in the officer corps, which might be detrimental to effective conduct of operations.
It would say to the officer corps that this could become a special group of people which has a small bucket of holy water poured on it to do special things that nobody else can really do. Are they more excellent officers than another group? I think not.
I think we would be tending to create that kind of a situation. Whether it would be created or not is a matter of judgment and experience, but there is a danger of that, and instead of having four types of officers, one from each Service in joint duty, we would have eight types.
We would have joint logisticians, and nonjoint logisticians, joint intelligence, nonjoint intelligence, and I think what we are interested in, sir, is the free flow of good officers with their speciality in and out of the joint billets, rather than a hard-core cadre of people who, theoretically, are the only ones who know something about the joint business.
Third, sir, the joint specialty would limit joint billet availability. It could work against achievement of a mutual goal of both the committee and the Defense Department, and that goal is that all our best officers that are destined to become flag or general officers have to have joint experience.
As you recall, in 1985, when we sent the report, we had eight factors that we were working on which state our desire to enhance the career of officers assigned to joint billets.
These eight things that we are doing, and they are enumerated in the report, I think, are helpful I believe, as sort of a bottom line. You got our attention on the joint business, and I think the only way to go is up more jointness-irrespective of the kind of legislation that the Congress passes.
Sir, before I conclude, may I give the committee a clear appreciation that in the Defense Department, we understand and support the positive thrust of the legislation in all its aspects, and under Departmental leadership and in response to your legislation, the services have clear instructions which recognize the value of joint duty and its critical importance to the national defense. We have increased emphasis on nominating highly qualified officers for joint duty, and increased the assignment to joint duty of graduates of the three joint schools, comprising the National Defense University. Also, more of our newly-promoted flag and general officers will be trained in joint activities with the addition of a second session to our present course called “Capstone”.
Significant progress has been made and will continue to be made, as in the words of Secretary Taft to this committee, when the services absorb the "cultural commitment."
We are a product of our experience and education in the military, and so we have this core of service allegiance. It is not always a good thing, but there is cultural commitment that goes with service, which is an attribute, when you get on the Joint Staff.
My experience in the Joint Staff is that this experience in the service, and with this basic allegiance each has to his or her own service, is what makes a professional. The cultural commitments don't come about very quickly.
It takes time, so we have to be careful that we do this in an evolutionary way whatever we do, so that in the long run, it ends up being a net plus instead of, possibly, a net minus. I think, sir, the results of the infusion of higher-quality officers into joint duty, the addition of this identifier in the approved promotion climate for joint officers, will show up in higher promotion rates and follow-on assignments.
I recommend that whatever changes that are made, they are implemented in a reasoned, deliberate way, so the careers of our officers are not unduly jeopardized by immediate dramatic changes in promotion, education and assignment policies. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
PREPARED STATEMENT OF LT. GEN. EDGAR A. CHAVARRIE Good morning Mr. Chairman, Subcommittee members, and staff members. It is a pleasure to appear before you today to discuss the concerns of the committee regarding the performance of military officers in joint activities and, specifically, the question of creating a joint specialty as proposed in the report by the Chairman's Special Study Group, dated April 1982. We share the committee's concern on this important subject. As you know, it was in response to your direction that the Secretary of De fense forwarded a report titled, Study to Improve the capabilities of Officers in Joint Activities in May 1985. Included in that report was an analysis by the Department on the question of establishing a joint specialty. Also included with our report were supporting studies by the JCS and the services.
Under the joint specialty proposal contained in the April, 1982, effort, officers at the 0-4 or higher level would be selected for the specialty and would spend most of their remaining careers in joint duty. Their assignments, education and career patterns would be steered toward joint duty with assignments in their parent service periodically to maintain currency:
We concluded in our May, 1985, report and continue to believe that a better ap proach is to require each service to establish a special experience identifier in officers' records who have had joint duty. This they are doing. An identifier would pro vide a system to identify officers for subsequent assignment to joint duty, and monitor careers to check on follow-on assignments, education, and promotions. This approach tracks closely with our analysis of joint officer requisitions which listed the officers' knowledge of their service and particular functional area far ahead of prior joint experience in importance in the assignment selection process. By functional area we mean, for example, logistics, communications, reconnaissance, armor, surface warfare, tactical air warfare, and intelligence. Changing this arrangement tends to diminish the contribution of military advice and could place undue emphasis on staff skills.
We see several potential problems associated with the creation of a cadre of joint specialists. First, it would change our present goal of maintaining an officer corps, throughout all the services, broadly experienced in joint operations. General Wickham, in his earlier testimony to this subcommittee, used the term "cross-fertilization.” It is an important and very desirable attribute of our present system because it supports a valuable flow of up-to-date service experience going into the joint structure, nd, conversely, and usually forgotten, the valuable flow of joint experience returning to the services. The present system also allows us to identify and quickly mobilize additional joint-experienced officers in wartime, a benefit which whould be reduced significantly under the proposal. We must remember, and this is also easily forgotten, that we should prepare ourselves for combat operation-for wartime-we are likely to need, quickly, large numbers of jointly-trained officers.
Second, despite the best of intentions, the joint specialty could create an adversarial relationship in the officer corps which would clearly be detrimental to effective conduct of operations--and presents one of the "unknown results of change" Admiral Crowe mentioned in his earlier testimony. Instead of four types of officers (one from each service) in joint duty, we would have eight types—some joint specialists and some non-joint specialists from each of the four services. These joint specialists would want to compete for the most challenging in-service positions when they were returned to their respective service to maintain operational currency. They would be at a disadvantage in this competition since they would obviously be a rather transient resource whose future would lie in the joint arena not in their service.
Third, the joint specialty would limit joint billet availability. Therefore, it could work against achievement of a mutual goal of both the committee and the Defense Department. The goal to which I'm referring is for all our best officers destined for flag officer rank to have joint experience. We believe the present system, with the improvements already underway in terms of the special experience identifier, the positive emphasis the services now place on joint duty, and more careful selectivity provides the basic framework to ensure the assignment of our outstanding officers to joint duty.
We are, however, taking another look at the feasibility of a joint specialty. In response to your direction in this year's Authorization Act, an independent research organization is conducting a study regarding the establishment of a joint specialty and related issues. We will carefully examine the results of that study, which is being administered by my office, and recommend policy or procedural changes which are appropriate.
Before I conclude, I would like to give the committee a clear appreciation that we in the Defense Department fully understand the positive thrust of the legislation. Under departmental leadership, and in response to your legislation, the services have clear instructions which recognize the value of joint duty and its critical importance to national defense. Increased emphasis has been placed on nominating highly qualified officers for joint duty. We are increasing the assignment to joint duty of graduates of the three joint schools comprising the National Defense University. More of our newly promoted flag and general officers will be trained in joint activities with the addition of a second session to our present course of training. Significant progress has been made and will continue to be made as, in the words of Secretary Taft to this committee, the services absorb the "cultural commitment" necessary to achieve lasting change. I believe that the results of the infusion of higher quality officers into joint duty, the addition of the special experience identifier, and the improved promotion climate for joint officers that I mentioned will be shown in higher promotion rates and excellent follow-on assignments. We already are beginning to see the positive results. The critical question facing us at this time is how rapidly the present system can adjust to the relatively drastic changes in your proposed legislation. I recommend that whatever changes are made, they are implemented in a reasoned, deliberate way so that the careers of our officers are not unduly jeopardized by immediate dramatic changes in the promotion, education, and assignment policies.
I wish to thank you again for this opportunity to appear before you. I would be pleased to respond to your questions.
Mr. NICHOLS. Thank you, General.
You should have a deep view of staff duty, being associated with it so closely over the years. What are your views concerning the management of the staff? Who should manage the staff? I believe our bill recommends that the Chairman be responsible for the management of the staff.
General CHAVARRIE. I think most of the portions of the bill that I am familiar with, and that I have some responsibility for, I think strengthening the Chairman is the best thrust of the legislation, and there is no question about who should manage the staff.
Mr. NICHOLS. Explain to me how your identifier works.
General CHAVARRIE. The identifier is—you have Joe Brown, who has had joint service, either on the Joint Staff in the Defense Agency, OSD, or one of the overseas commands, and it is an identifier that (if he has had service before) allows the Chairman-thinking now about the Chairman having the increased power to get the personnel for the Joint Staff—to select from a group of people who have already had joint duty.
The identifier allows the Chairman to see the kind of performance this person had in the Joint Staff. Was he outstanding? Was he good, fair, whatever?
It identifies that individual, so for the next selection, the Chairman can see if he was good or bad or indifferent.
The officers nominated by the services for the Joint Staff have to be the most outstanding officers. You can tell an outstanding officer by many things, his selections for school, early promotions.
If he has also been identified as a joint officer, this is the person, in his functional skill, that the Chairman can select.
The identifier is one way of doing it. I think the law requires that the Secretary of Defense in consultation with the Chairman, ensure that the officer personnel policies do something about promotion, retention, and assignment, and I think that is what the identifier would do. It would immediately pick the best from those who have served before.
Mr. NICHOLS. Well, how do you identify this man? Do you give him a campaign ribbon or put something on his shoulder sleeve?
General CHAVARRIE. I think it is two steps. No. 1, let's say that you now want to find an intelligence officer to come to the Joint Staff
, and you say I need the best person around, so you ask the services, all four, and you nominate for this intelligence billet, an 06, for example, or an 05 billet.
The services, if they have an identifier, will go back and look at the fellow's records, and nominate the best man. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in the future, will insist that the best people come to the OJCS, and you will nominate the best people, and the identifier will point out somebody who has held a joint job before—which is a prerequisite-and No. 2, somebody who is outstanding or not outstanding.
Mr. NICHOLS. How long have we been into this identifier?
General CHAVARRIE. 1985. Middle of last year, sir, when we sent the report over.
Mr. NICHOLS. We heard testimony this week from someone, the name escapes me at the moment, but I believe he said that at the time, less than 2 percent of the 400-odd people on the Joint Staff had ever had joint duty before.
They were all neophytes in this area, knew nothing about Joint Staff duty, and I am wondering if in some people's minds, people who do Joint Staff duty view it as the end of the road? If a second assignment to the Joint Staff is not going to be looked at as a double penalty?
General CHAVARRIE. Yes, sir; I think I understand.
Mr. NICHOLS. What we are trying to do is to try to make Joint Staff duty a little more attractive to people. I don't like hearing all these horror stories about being assigned to the Joint Staff as the end of the road, forget about promotion, no way, so forth.
The recommendations that we have made have been made in that vein.
General CHAVARRIE. Sir, I agree with you that that sort of feeling has been around, that if you are assigned to the Joint Staff, it is kind of the end. And I must also admit, and it is a personal kind of judgment and a feeling, that some of that still exists.